Internal Customer Service Defined

He laughed at me. I didn’t take it personally since it was just a natural reaction to something I said.

A few years back, I was in a meeting with a group of small business owners who were designing a method of evaluating different companies to win a community customer service award. As we were building the criteria, I talked about the need to include questions about “Internal Customers.”

One of the business owners asked what that meant, and I stated that it addresses co-workers – the idea is that we need to treat co-workers as customers. He laughed and said “that’s the craziest thing I ever heard!”

Maybe the concept was odd to him because he didn’t treat his staff with courtesy, respect, and responsiveness. Or maybe he just didn’t fully grasp my definition of “internal customer.”

The easiest way to think of who is your internal customer is to think of who in your company relies on you. What co-worker, supervisor, direct report, or other personnel rely on you to get their job done? Who relies on you to provide them information, technology, decisions, or answers that allow them to help their customer? Which co-workers do you impact by what you do, how responsive you are, and how you interact with them?

These are the people – the co-workers – that need the same level of respect, quick turnaround, positive attitudes, attentiveness, issue resolution, and general courtesy as your external customer.

Get comfortable with the idea of “Internal Customers.” Who relies on you?

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Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service

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